Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Mission on the Psalms: St. Thomas More Parish, Cherry Hill, NJ

April 7, 2009

Peace and Good,

Most of my missions throughout these weeks have been on the Letters of St. Paul (because this is the Year of St. Paul, the 2,000th anniversary of his birth). This past week I preached a mission based on the Psalms. We have been using these poems as forms of prayer for over 3,000 years. Every time we celebrate the liturgy, we have a responsorial psalm. Yet, some of the symbols are difficult to understand because they were written in a society that is so different from our own.

I love the symbol of walking through the dark valley in Psalm 23. What it actually says in the Hebrew is that it is the valley as dark as death. People in the ancient world were terrified by the dark. They had no artificial means of bringing light to their environment. The premise of the psalm is that the Lord is our shepherd and we are the flock. Picture a flock running through a very dark valley in which the sheep are getting skittish. What calms them down - the rod and the staff that give them courage. The shepherd taps the sheep on their back ends to calm them down and let them know that he is still there. God often sends us a little reminder when we are hurting most to let us know that he is still there. It might be a note from a friend, a moment of consolation, a beautiful site, etc.

Please pray for the Catholics in the diocese of Camden. There is a plan to close up to half of the parishes, and whenever something like this happens, there is always a lot of pain. Even when it is the right decision due to demographics, there is still the fact that this is where one was married, baptized the children, buried a loved one, etc.

I am continuing editing a series of CD's on the prophets. It will end up to be 11 or 12 CD's and should be ready in a month or so. There is also a series that is almost finished on the Book of Genesis (again, 11 or 12 CD's). When these are finished, almost all of the audio tapes I have done in years past will be available on CD. Then it is time to start new themes.

I just finished a book called Four Queens by Nancy Goldstone. It was the story of four sisters from Provence in France, the daughters of a count, who all ended up as queens during the mid 13th century. It was a great read. There was even the story of how one of their relatives from Savoy (I think it was Peter of Savoy) had a palace on the Strand in London. He house gave the name to the famous Savoy Hotel, one of the most luxurious hotels in the world.

You're in my prayers during Holy Week.


fr. Jude

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